Metadata for Greater Sage-grouse Core Areas
Identification Information:
Originator: Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
Publication date: 01/22/2014
Title: Greater Sage-grouse Core Areas
Publication place: Helena, MT
Publisher: Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
Online linkage:
Browse graphic file name:
Browse graphic file description: Map of sage-grouse core areas in Montana.
Browse graphic file type: JPEG

Sage-grouse core areas are habitats associated with 1) Montana's highest densities of sage-grouse (25% quartile), based on male counts and/or 2) sage-grouse lek complexes and associated habitat important to sage-grouse distribution. In addition an area providing connectivity between North Valley and South Phillips core areas was added.
The data are intended for display of sage grouse core areas in Montana. The data are intended for initial resource review and conservation planning. For evaluating or reviewing site specific applications Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) recommends contacting the appropriate FWP Regional office.

Time period of content:
Calendar date: 01/22/2014
Currentness reference: publication date
Progress: Complete
Maintenance and update frequency: As needed
Access constraints: None
Use constraints:
Users must assume responsibility to determine the usability of this data for their purposes. This data set is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) makes no representations or warranties whatsoever with respect to the accuracy or completeness of this data set and assumes no responsibility for the suitability of this data set for a particular purpose. FWP will not be liable for any damages incurred as a result of errors in this data set.
Point of contact:
Lydia Bailey
GIS Manager
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
1420 E. 6th Avenue
Helena, MT 59601

Telephone: 406-444-5365

Data set credit:
This data would not be available in spatial format without the cooperation of the wildlife biologists of Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and Bureau of Land Management.
Security information:
Security classification: Unclassified
Back to Top

Data Quality Information:
Attribute accuracy report:
Good - based on input and review by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (MFWP) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) wildlife biologists.


Process step:
Displaying Male Density Determined: 1) Identifying Highest Density: Two different point density estimation methods (noted below) were used to identify the highest densities of displaying male sage-grouse based upon lek locations. Both techniques identified the same lek complexes as having the highest densities at the 25% quartile.
a. Audubon (K. Doherty) used a 6440m circular neighborhood analysis (Spatial Analyst Tools ArcGIS 9.2) at 1km grid cell size. The maximum male count available between 2005-2007 was used to evaluate male density. The resulting surface was randomly sampled using 50,000 points to determine the quartile breakpoints.
b. MT Fish, Wildlife and Parks used a Fixed Kernel Density Estimator (Hawths Tools -ArcGIS 9.2) with a bivariate normal kernel and a smoothing factor of 10, 000 at a 500m cell size. The kernel was weighted based upon the average of the highest male count for each year from 1998-2008. The quartile boundaries are provided by the program.
Process date: 08/01/2008
Process step:
Focus Area: Lek complexes and associated habitats, typically within a 10 km search radius of leks in the complex, defined the outside boundaries of this analysis. In some instances, habitat associated with a core lek complex may have extended beyond 10 km. Overlaying documented seasonal habitats connected to and extending beyond these areas and manual editing were necessary to incorporate these exceptions.
Process date: 08/01/2008
Process step:
Habitat Suitability Analysis: For the purposes of this analysis, unsuitable habitats and suitable habitats within or adjacent to core areas were generally defined as follows:

a. Unsuitable Habitat
·Cultivated row-crop parcels > 600 acres
·Areas where 75% or more of the surrounding 1000 acres are cultivated land*
·Areas where 20% or more of the surrounding 1000 acres are forested habitat*
·Areas where 75% or more of the surrounding 1000 acres exceeded a terrain ruggedness threshold of 13.** Note: This criteria was not included for intermountain valleys of southwestern Montana because of the unique topographic features and demonstrated habitat use by sage-grouse

* Landcover values were obtained from the National Land Cover Dataset (NLCD). Analyses were based upon a 30m grid cell. Percentages are based on a 2 km X 2 km search window (1,000 acres).
** Terrain ruggedness is the standard deviation of elevation surrounding an area based upon a 30m grid cell. The threshold was chosen based on 95% of leks having a value of 13 or lower.

b. Suitable Habitat
·Areas where 75% or more of the surrounding 1000 acres had a 10% or greater probability of supporting a sage-grouse lek.
1.The majority of core area boundaries were based upon this delineation.
2.The probability used is based upon a habitat suitability model that used lek locations to identify suitable habitat. This model was produced by the MT Natural Heritage Program and is documented at ( ).
Process date: 09/01/2008
Process step:
Field biologists from FWP and BLM reviewed printed maps showing the habitat parameters described above to identify outer boundaries of core areas and determined general accuracy of designated non-habitats. Printed maps were at a scale of 1:200,000.
Process date: 10/01/2008
Process step:
Based upon those biologists expert opinion, refinements were made to the core area boundaries. This allowed for inclusion of nesting and brood rearing areas not captured by the lek driven model.
Process date: 10/01/2008
Process step:
Telemetry data was utilized to refine core area boundaries in southwestern Powder River and southeastern Bighorn counties and Beaverhead and Madison Counties to help refine mapping of Core habitats in these areas. Data from Powder River and Bighorn counties was obtained from research done by Dr. Dave Naugle, University of Montana. Data from Beaverhead and Madison counties was obtained from research done by the BLM.
Process date: 10/01/2008
Process step:
The mapped habitat, refinements based upon biological expert opinion and integration of existing research data were incorporated to develop Version 1.0
Process date: 11/01/2008
Process step:
Edits were conducted in the Powder River basin to eliminate areas identified via habitat association, but not currently supporting Sage-grouse. Scott Hemmer - FWP Bio expert review.
Process date: 07/31/2009
Process step:
Areas in the Roundup area were edited to add / remove area based upon expert knowledge. Jay Newell, FWP Biologist.
Process date: 07/31/2009
Process step:
Per the recommendation of the Sage-grouse advisory council and USFWS an area within Garfield and McCone counties was re-evaluated for inclusion in the sage-grouse core areas layer. Using data layers from the original core area delineation a rough boundary was produced which generally followed the sage-grouse habitat model. This boundary extended from the north end of the Rosebud county core area and encompassed most suitable habitat up to the east side of the Big Dry Arm of Fort Peck Reservoir. Using this draft, FWP and BLM staff determined that the habitat from Rosebud core to just north and east of Jordan had already undergone significant agricultural conversion to the extent the area did not merit core area designation, a finding that corresponded to the original evaluation of that area. However, the area surrounding Haxby Point around Big Dry Arm into McCone county was determined to not have experienced significant agricultural conversion and was included as a new core area. Given general guidance on the area boundary by FWP and BLM biologists, FWP GIS staff used the supporting data layers (aerial imagery, habitat modeling, agricultural Landcover) to adjust the final boundary to correspond to the landscape features as was done during the original core areas delineation.
Process date: 10/02/2013
Process step:
Cleaned up boundaries on the state border where core areas either overlaped into adjacent states or stopped short of the boundary due to model edge effects. The only exception being an area in the Powder River Basin where imagery showed landscape characteristics such as agricuture, that did not support such an expansion. Core areas were snapped to the edge of the state boundary using the MSDI Cadastral layer as a source for the boundary.
Process date: 01/22/2014
Process step:
Based upon reccomendation of the Sage-grouse Advisory Council and USFWS an area of connectivity was added in North Eastern MT to connect North Valley and South Phillips core areas. The Montana Saskatchewan Connectivity Area was identified by using relocation data from Rebecca Smith's work on connectivity (Smith et al. 2013). This delineation was made by MFWP staff by encompassing all relocations and assessment of the general habitat via aerial imagery interpretation. The resulting polygon was reviewed and approved by Smith and Dave Naugle (UofM).
Process date: 01/22/2014
Back to Top

Spatial Data Organization Information:
Point and vector object information:
ESRI feature type:
ESRI feature count: 21
Back to Top

Spatial Reference Information:
Horizontal coordinate system definition:
Projected coordinate system name: NAD_1983_StatePlane_Montana_FIPS_2500
Planar distance units: meters
Geodetic model:
Horizontal datum name: North American Datum of 1983
Ellipsoid name: Geodetic Reference System 80
Semi-major axis: 6378137.000000
Denominator of flattening ratio: 298.257222
Altitude system definition:
Altitude resolution: 0.000010
Altitude encoding method:
Explicit elevation coordinate included with horizontal coordinates
Back to Top

Entity and Attribute Information:
Entity type label:

Entity count: 21

Attribute label: OBJECTID
Attribute definition: Internal feature number.
Attribute domain:
Sequential unique whole numbers that are automatically generated.

Attribute label: Shape
Attribute definition: Feature geometry.
Attribute domain: Coordinates defining the features.

Attribute label: CoreName
Attribute alias: CORENAME
Attribute definition:
Gerenal name given to cores to assist in reference. Not official.

Attribute label: ACRES
Attribute definition: Area in acres.

Attribute label: SHAPE.AREA

Attribute label: SHAPE.LEN
Back to Top

Distribution Information:
Lydia Bailey
GIS Manager
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
1420 East 6th Ave
Helena, MT 59620-0701

Telephone: 406-444-5365

Resource description: Downloadable data.

Standard order process:
Digital form:
Format name: ESRI Shapefile
File decompression technique: WinZip
Transfer size: 0.045
Online option:
Back to Top

Metadata Reference Information:
Metadata date: 01/22/2014
Metadata contact:
Adam Messer
GIS Analyst
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
1420 East 6th Ave
Helena, MT 59620-0701

Telephone: 406-444-0095

Back to Top